Just before we kick off our fabulous BOnFire (Beltane Online Fire Festival) tonight, we just wanted to give a quick update on the impact COVID-19 has had on our event and what we have done to ensure our volunteer & audience safety while complying with health officials advice on preventing the spread of the disease.
As you are all aware, in mid-March the Board of Trustees made the decision to cancel the physical festival to mark Beltane 2020 in line with the Scottish Government guidance at the time that large gatherings should not be taking place. This was a tough choice but the right one to take to protect the health of our volunteers, our audience, and all those that would come into contact with them.
When we decided to create a digital festival this year, we have been very clear with those contributing anything for this festival that they must not be meeting anyone who is not a member of their household or be going on any unnecessary journeys while creating any of their content for submission. Our volunteer contributors have all signed agreements to confirm they are following social distancing and other guidance to stop the spread of COVID-19.
There will be some shots of people who are clearly outside tonight and we wanted to clarify why this is.
First, some of the images and video footage we are using tonight will have been from previous festivals, so there are portions of the night where you will clearly see crowds of people on Calton hill or other spaces around Edinburgh. As these are all taken from a pre-COVID festival, no social distancing or lockdown rules were breached.
Secondly, any outside footage provided from our volunteers this year has been done as part of their daily allowance for exercise and has been done alone or with members of the same household, per health officials guidance. Some of this exercise has been done on walks to local parks or public spaces near their homes, or while spinning fire poi (as some of our volunteers use spinning poi as a form of exercise). On top of this, as fire is not suitable for indoor usage, some of our fire performers have recorded themselves in their back gardens so that they could still share some live fire with you this festival.
If you do have any concerns when viewing things tonight and wish to raise this, please feel free to contact the Chair of the BFS Board. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org
As our physical festival is the main source of income for Beltane Fire Society, due to us receiving no grant funding and raising all income ourselves, we would really appreciate it if, you enjoy what you see and are able to, could look at donating to us the price of a ticket (or what you feel it’s worth) tonight here. Although our festival is no longer taking place, we still have to pay rent, contractors, and various other costs to ensure the charity keeps going until the next time we can physically gather.
We hope you enjoy what our community has been able to create to share with you in these strange times. As the seasons continue to change and pass us by, so too shall this.
Beltane Fire Society
Featured image by Gordon Veitch for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.